Movie Review: The Founder.
Based on a true story about the origin and phenomenal growth of the McDonalds’ fast food franchise. Michael Keaton plays the Founder Ray Kroc with obvious enthusiasm. In the mid 1950s, Kroc was selling milk shake makers when he came across the ingenious McDonald brothers in southern California. Dick and Mac McDonald reduced the time it takes to make meals and get them to a hungry public; giving us the concept we know today as fast food.
Ray Kroc saw the potential of McDonalds and arranged a business dealing sealed by contract with the brothers. Eventually, Kroc would take over the business and enjoy its immense success with some questionable business tactics.
It was Kroc’s zeal and energy on selling the idea of a nation-wide franchise and making McDonald’s an ‘American church;’ that was, overall, pivotal to the growth of the company’s brand.
Some people may think it was Ray Kroc’s ruthlessness in out-maneuvering the fast food’s original founder’s: the McDonald’s brothers, and taking over the business was callous and reprehensible; but these are mere moral arguments at best.
The world of business does not tolerate the weak, ignorant and unimaginative. Business success, as Ray Kroc shows, is based on persistence (and innovation). When it came to growth and franchising, the McDonald’s brothers didn’t have the ‘moxy’ or ‘chutzpah’ of their mid-western partner.
The market is always right. The market, like truth, cares not for people’s feelings, or moral position of whose original idea and concept it was in the first place.
Kroc’s vision, energy and enthusiasm grew the business to the multi-billion dollar global fast food titan it is today. His methods may have been unscrupulous on occasion but could have easily been countered by diligence and innovation.
This is a well-directed story where initially someone came up with a great idea but someone else later took it; and made it even better. The overall sympathy may lie with the McDonalds’ brothers who watched their concept be gradually taken over by their business partner Ray Kroc. However, they initially tried franchising but failed. Kroc, with considerable risk to himself, developed the franchise model, with some real estate ingenuity attached to the deal. In the end, he made it work to his and the brand’s benefit.
Essentially, this is a story about someone’s innovative franchise vision being accepted, in droves, by the public. As a lawyer who has worked in the commercial field, I can say with a degree of certainty: the McDonalds’ brothers weren’t done in by Ray Kroc; they were done in by a lack of faith in their own brand and importantly: poor legal advice. There are business and life lessons to be learned from this movie.
I enjoyed the movie and gave it 4 Stars.
Take Care & Cheers
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Written By: Robert D. Siegel.